Sunday, December 29, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 19 & Pics

Chapter 19
“Shit!” I gasped, fighting covers, clothes, and nonexistent clammy hands as I sat up in the bottom bunk.
“You okay?” Mickey asked, pulling a heavy hooded sweatshirt over her head before kneeling next to me.
I leaned back against the cold metal wall, bringing my knees up to my chest, which brought me back to reality, but I ran a shaky hand over my face and through my sweaty hair.
“Yeah.” I jerked away when she reached out to touch my leg. “Sorry.”
“Don’t be. You want me to get Edward?” she asked.
I silently fought it for a second, but finally nodded, my hands falling down beside me on the bed. It was a nasty fucking dream, and my skin still felt prickly and violated. I knew the nightmares stemmed from being below deck. The cool, damp feel of the air around me, the dark room, and the closed-in feel of the bunk bed brought some old memories to the surface. I’d fought sleep for almost a whole day out at sea before Edward begged me to take a break.
Scooting to the edge of the bed, I stood up, and Mickey got out of my way. I opened the door, pointing to the hallway. “I’m just gonna go wash my face,” I told her.
“Yup. I’ll head up and send pretty boy your way. Okay?” she murmured, heading out into the hallway.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 18 & Pics

Chapter 18
“You ready, Bellsy?” Emmett asked over my earpiece. “I’ve got you four targets in place.”
“Thanks, Em,” I answered, placing my eye up to the scope. “One, two…three…four,” I muttered to myself as I located every target down the small mountain.
“Bells, account for wind, the downward slope of the mountain, and don’t forget, this is for speed,” Jasper advised patiently and calmly from my side.
He’d set me up with one of his own personal sniper rifles. It was an intense-looking, high-powered, deadly piece of equipment, and the one in front of him was just like it. We’d been at this shit all day. Alec, Jasper, and Emmett had hiked me up into the woods just outside of Aunt Kate’s fence. It gave us plenty of room to work, but also kept the sound of gunfire from scaring the kids.
“You gonna remind me of this stuff when we’re on opposite sides of that island?” I asked snarkily, but he merely chuckled, bumping my shoulder with his.
“I can, and I most likely will, but you’re gonna do fine,” he soothed. “You’re a good shot. You just gotta get used to doing what you do from a hundred or more yards away. Yeah?”
“Yeah,” I replied in a whisper, readying my weapon.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 17 & Pics

Chapter 17
“I can’t believe Kurt,” Makenna said with a giggle, shaking her head before taking a sip of her beer. “I mean, I thought he’d stay the Mack Daddy.”
Grinning, I aimed my arrow at the target Alec had been kind enough to put up for me. “I wish you could’ve seen him. Every time Irina would step inside the door, he’d just about fall out of his chair,” I told them, pulling back on the bow, lining up my shot, and letting go.
The beauty of the bow and arrow was the silence. The only sound heard was the dull thunk of it hitting the target, and that was only because it was a bale of hay with a thin cardboard target on it. I wrinkled my nose at the fact that I only caught the outside ring, but turned to my girls.
Mickey laughed, nudging Makenna. “Poor Kurt. We gave him shit from the get-go.”
“How hurt is he?” Rose asked, kicking back in her chair.
“He caught a ricochet to his thigh. Either the bullet had disintegrated, or it was a piece of concrete that nicked him, because there wasn’t anything in the wound,” I explained, pulling out another bow.

Sunday, December 15, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 16 & Pics

Chapter 16
There was something settling about crossing the small stretch of ocean and seeing Alaska on the horizon. It had been a stressful couple of days. Carlisle had given Edward the power of when we were set to leave Irina’s, and my husband loaded us all up the next day. We’d said goodbye to Eleazar, who was driving off to Moscow to meet up with other CIA operatives in search of George Stefan, and goodbye to Kurt, who was still healing – but really, he just wanted a couple more days with Irina. They both would be joining us at Aunt Kate’s by the end of the week, which was five days away.
The flight home was much like the one heading in: several stops at small airports for fuel and at least one night so Edward could rest his eyes. Carlisle was still quite sore, though he was getting stronger. So it seemed to take longer going home than it had coming over, but really, it was the same travel time.
The sun had risen in Alaska to a bright day, and if we continued on the way we were, we’d arrive at Aunt Kate’s mid-morning. Rose had already sent me a picture of all the kids watching our progress via the GPS trackers. I’d laughed, shown Carlisle, and told him all about how Alice wanted to be able to keep watch over us without the possibility of something going awry, like with his watch.
Carlisle shifted restlessly next to me, and I turned to look at him.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 15 & Pics

Chapter 15
Glancing up at the hissing argument I couldn’t understand, I had to smile and shake my head slowly. Kurt looked admonished, yet just about to burst at the seams as Irina tore him a new one for being up and about.
When we’d returned from Norilsk, she’d opened her personal space to Carlisle and Kurt, giving them rooms of their own upstairs. Carlisle had slept for almost twenty-four hours after having showered and eaten. He’d devoured the food he’d been given, but he needed to eat again. And I wanted to check his wounds, though there weren’t many. The most worrisome had been the bruises on his head and face from what he’d told us were kicks and punches. The ugliest were the cuts on his wrists from the zip-tie restraints where they’d put them on too tight, not to mention his struggling against them.
On a tray next to a basket of warm rolls and the damn first-aid kit I’d taken from the chopper, I set a bowl of soup that Irina’s grandmother had made.
“Bells!” Kurt whined, looking to me for help. When I lifted the tray and glanced over, he said, “Tell her I’m fine. Tell her I’m okay to move around.”
My chuckle was low and soft. “Technically, you could open that wound up again coming down those stairs, Mack Daddy,” I teased him, grinning when he narrowed his eyes at me from the kitchen table.
Irina harrumphed in triumph at him, saying, “Which is exactly what I said.”
“Traitor,” he sneered at me under his breath, which only made me laugh again.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 14 & Pics

Chapter 14
“You stupid son of a bitch!”
I braced myself for the hit that was coming. I was being held, so there was no way I could protect myself. I grunted, gritting my teeth against the hard punch. Apparently, my good friend whose cousin I’d killed at the hotel in Moscow needed a little get-back. His face was a bruised, purple swollen mess from our last encounter.
“Looking good. You should model with that fucking face,” I taunted, shifting my weight against the men holding me. What they couldn’t see was what I was hiding in my grip.
Another punch – this time, to my gut. I doubled over, groaning and chuckling at the same time, because he’d just given me ample opportunity to grip the weapon I’d made out of my spoon. A few bends back and forth, and the spoon part was gone, leaving a nice, sharp, twisted piece of metal, not unlike a shank in prison fights.
With both hands wrapped around the spoon’s handle, I surged forward, swinging hard. I caught the asshole hard in the stomach, only to jab again at his neck. Smiling at the fact that I’d left the spoon’s handle in his flesh and at the sharp, metallic scent of blood filling my cell, I shoved the fucker back.
It was a fatal wound. He’d bleed out from his jugular before he made it out of my cell. His buddies dropped me, but it was too late; he collapsed to the ground, holding his neck. Within a few seconds, I had two men on me, kicking, punching, and shoving me against the wall.

Sunday, December 1, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 13 & Pics

Chapter 13
“Sweetness, gimme your leg,” Edward ordered, patting the bumper of the Humvee.
I set my boot where he’d indicated, and he pulled a large knife out of a duffle bag. He grabbed my ankle, securing the knife in its sheath to the inside of my calf, and then gave my thigh a squeeze before putting my foot back down on the ground.
“C’mere,” he murmured, checking my Kevlar vest, the Sig, and my thigh holster with my nine mil. He smiled a little, tapping the bill of my cap. “I need you to stick with Mickey,” he told me reaching for the face paint, but he merely grinned when I shot it a foul look. “Tough, baby. You’re wearing it. You’ll put it on after the first phase, okay?”
We’d landed on the other side of the hill from the Mayak mine a couple of hours after sunset. Alec’s team pulled in just about twenty minutes later. My eyes drifted over to where Kurt was setting up a portable info station. He was going to sit in the Humvee to keep us as connected as possible. Boris and Jasper had already started their trek up the hill to station themselves as invisible as possible, but still be able to see the entire Mayak area, including the apartment housing. Alec, Felix, and Emmett were already scoping out the front gates.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 12 & Pics

Chapter 12
Small, strong fingers gripped my back, and I gazed down, locking with the deep, dark brown I loved so fucking much. I knew I’d scared the absolute shit out of my girl. I slipped inside her as deep as I could, pausing just long enough to brush a kiss across her lips.
“I’m sorry, love.” I kissed her again and dropped my forehead to hers. “I’m right here. I’m okay.”
She nodded against me, her body shaking just a little. “I love you,” she whispered, wrapping her legs around me.
“Oh, sweetness,” I sighed, my eyes closing at the feel of her surrounding me everywhere. “I love you, too, baby…so much.”
Bracing my arms on either side of her head, I started a slow pace. I wanted to take my time with her, as much time as I could at the moment, because I knew we’d be called into the hangar soon enough. We’d teased each other before I’d left for MCC, but this was different. I needed to soothe her, calm her. I’d lost my head, gave into my temper when that asshole was pointing his weapon my way, and she’d seen it all, giving Jasper the go-ahead to take his shot. It was probably the first time she’d ever had to make a call like that. I should’ve been more in control.

Monday, November 25, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 11 & Pics

Chapter 11
I rubbed my wrists, glaring at the cuts and blood that were left behind when they removed my restraints. With a deep breath, I glanced up at the two men who were waiting for me to eat. I noted that they hadn’t bothered to cover their faces this time around, and I tried not to let that bother me.
However, I was far too hungry and thirsty to give much focus to anything other than the big bowl of stew in front of me. Picking up the spoon, I gave it a taste. It wasn’t the best, but it certainly beat out some of meals I’d had in the military, and it most definitely was better than nothing at all.
My eyes followed one of the men as he paced impatiently, only to take in the one leaning near the doorway. Neither had said a word, though I wondered which one may be calling my son. Though neither had a broken fucking nose from when I’d head-butted them the first day. That disappointed me.
Alexander Gunter. That motherfucker.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 10 & Pics

Chapter 10
“Because your dad would be pissed. I’m Boris Zukov.”
My breath caught for a second at the sound of that name. He’d been the complete unknown in this whole thing, yet an important missing piece so far. We couldn’t even find pictures of him, much less find him after he’d disappeared from MCC.
“Oh my damn, pretty boy may just pull the trigger, Bells,” Mickey whispered to me, our weapons still trained on the stranger surrounded by the entire lot of us.
As she murmured that only to me, my heart clenched when Edward reached up to his Glock and chambered a round. The click-click-click was loud in the silence around us, and it made me jump into action. I hopped down from the back of the van, rushing to the older gentleman that was still fucking grinning.
“Edward, wait,” I stated softly, looking to the man with my very angry, very ready to pull the damn trigger husband in front of him. “If you’re Boris, who were they?” I asked, jerking a thumb behind me toward the woods where the four bodies had been stashed.
“George Stefan’s men most likely,” he guessed, his brow furrowing. “Too bad George wasn’t with them. That would’ve been really helpful.”

Sunday, November 17, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 9 & Pics

Chapter 9
“Wasn’t it Einstein that said, ‘I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones’?” Alice pondered over the video chat as I walked through the kitchen.
Jasper nodded absentmindedly as he continued to read everything she’d sent from Carlisle’s laptop. “Yeah, well, darlin’… It was Patton that said, ‘May God have mercy on my enemies because I won’t.’” He looked to her on the screen and raised an eyebrow at her. “Einstein was addicted to opium. Patton was a genius in the Second World War.”
She giggled. “Fair enough, Jazzy. And very true in this case, I guess.”
I smiled at the two of them. Jasper had a love for history, and Alice never forgot any-damn-thing, so they tested each other occasionally to see what quotes fit whatever case we were currently working. It seemed to be an inside joke, kept things easy between them. But this time, they had the whole crew joining in.

Thursday, November 14, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 8 & Pics

Chapter 8
“You’d better get going. You’ll hear from me in twenty-four hours. Good luck, Edward.”
The call ended, and I felt myself being jerked out of the way. One glance down at Maslov, and I had a sinking feeling he wasn’t going to make it. The phone in my hand bleeped. A swipe of my thumb showed a picture, but I had to use my pants to clean the blood off the screen in order to see.
“We gotta go, Ed,” Kurt urged in a hiss, grabbing my arm, but he froze at the sight of the picture. “Oh, shit.”
It was my dad strapped to a fucking metal chair. His mouth was covered with a strip of duct tape, and he was dirty, pale, and pissed, but otherwise, he looked okay. As in, he looked alive. If I was to trust the time stamp, then the picture would’ve been taken less than ten minutes prior to that fucking phone call.

Sunday, November 10, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 7 & Pics

Chapter 7
Leaning against the outside window of the small airport, I smirked as Alec took Kurt inside to speak to the girl behind the counter. We’d landed a few minutes ago, and it was now late afternoon, early evening. Somewhere along the line, I’d lost another hour of time…or gained one. I wasn’t sure which, but it was annoying.
I gave my surroundings a long, slow gaze. It looked like any other small industrial airport that Edward used frequently. There was very little air traffic, but the hangars were busy, not to mention the helicopter landing pad where he’d set down. He was still securing everything, and Eleazar and Jasper had gone to grab a couple of rental SUVs. Mickey and Emmett had ridden with them.
A look back inside the office of the airport made me smirk. The girl behind the counter was already blushing, her eyes drifting from Alec, to Kurt, and then back to Alec. They were shameless, charismatic flirts. Charming information out of women had become a true skill – it was dead useful. And at this point, I was beyond giving a shit about the who or how, because I damn well wanted information like yesterday about Carlisle.
We were all dressed in regular clothes, something that Eleazar insisted upon. He’d told us we needed to look like Carlisle’s family, not a small army about to take Moscow by storm. I’d laughed, because one look at our crew screamed military, mercenary, and unwavering discipline. It didn’t help that we were all armed to the teeth, that the chopper was packed with weapons and equipment, or that most of us barely had our tempers or our worry in check.
Especially Edward.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 6 & Pics

Chapter 6
“Guys, you’re getting close to the coordinates El gave us,” Alice stated over the headsets.
“Ten-four, Alice,” Edward stated wearily.
He was the only one that answered her. We were all a little tired of being in the chopper. It was cramped due to how many of us there were, not to mention supplies, and most of us were just quietly taking in the scenery we could see from our windows.
Technically, what Americans considered to be all of Russia was mostly Siberian territory. The upper portion of Asia that stretched from Alaska all the way to Ukraine was what we’d been taught was the USSR. However, the Soviet Union didn’t exist anymore. According to the maps Alice had uploaded onto our tablets, we would be landing somewhere in the middle of the Central Siberian Plateau. That plopped us down a few hundred miles south from Norilsk, the mine that Carlisle owned, and several hundred miles north of MCC, the uranium and plutonium processing combine that he’d requested to visit, which was also the last place his buddy Boris had been seen. It also dropped us around a thousand miles east of Moscow, the last place Carlisle’s GPS signal had bleeped.

Sunday, November 3, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 5 & Pics

Chapter 5
“Daddy’s mad,” Sammy whispered to me, his little brow wrinkling as he watched his father prep the chopper across the barnyard.
“No, baby. He’s just upset,” I promised him, scratching Load’s ear. He was standing vigilant by my son, his sharp blue eyes always watching.
“Wha’ happen’?” he asked, crawling up into my lap, still wearing his flannel camo pajamas.
I sighed deeply. It was too damn early, and Edward and I had gotten very little sleep, but I’d insisted, considering he was going to be flying. I also didn’t know how to tell the kids that not only were we leaving them, but Gamma would be arriving at Aunt Kate’s without their Poppy and that it was him that we were leaving to go find. At least, I hoped that we’d be able to find him.
Hugging my son closer, I nuzzled his soft, chubby cheek. Everyone was a little on-edge at the farm, because we’d lost Carlisle’s GPS signal. Once we’d verified that Esme was in the air and on her way to Anchorage, we’d monitored Carlisle’s signal for another half hour. It completely stopped outside of Moscow. From the coordinates, it was a small private airfield. We were also still waiting for Eleazar to call us back. Nothing, so far, had gone right.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 4 & Pics

Chapter 4
Propping open the barn doors, I eyed the horse paddock. Over the years, I’d slowly replaced the entire fence when I’d visit Aunt Kate, and it seemed to be holding up. I walked back to the horse stalls, setting Samson and Goliath loose into the paddock. Both were getting up in age, but they were still in good shape. Samson was the color of butterscotch, with an almost-white mane and tail – a purebred Palomino. Goliath, on the other hand, was as black as pitch, a mix of different breeds. Next, I let Mary and Ruth, who were much younger and smaller, out of their stalls. They were auburn-colored quarter horses, with white stripes down their faces.
Once the barn was empty, I set to work on the stall gates. All of them needed replacing. Their hinges and locks were rusty and old, and I was pretty sure Goliath knew that, simply because he was capable of opening his own.
I snorted, shaking my head at that thought, but got to work. Lock and Load found a comfy pile of hay in an empty open stall and watched me with sharp blue eyes. I needed to stay busy, to keep my mind occupied on something other than the waiting game. The twelve-hour difference between Alaska and Moscow was driving me fucking crazy. It was early morning where I was, which meant, my father and Esme were about to go to bed, and I didn’t expect to hear from them for at least another eight hours or so. Even worse, it would be midnight before they’d be boarding the plane. That made for a long damn day ahead of me.

Sunday, October 27, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 3 & Pics

Chapter 3
“Edward Anthony!” I heard behind me when I slid open the bay door after pulling Bethy down out of the co-pilot seat and setting her on her feet. When I glanced over my shoulder, Aunt Kate added, “Hurry up and come hug on me!”
Chuckling, I said, “Yes, Aunt Kate.”
“Are you in trouble?” Sammy asked in a whisper. “You just got here, Daddy.”
Chuckling, I asked, “What makes you think I’m in trouble?”
“Mom calls me Samuel Masen when I do sumpthin’ wrong,” he explained, looking over my shoulder wide-eyed.
Bella laughed softly and kissed his temple. “Relax, Sammy. Aunt Kate has always called your daddy that,” she told him. “It keeps him out of trouble.” She grinned when I rolled my eyes her way.
“That’s it. Everyone out,” I teased, swinging a laughing Samuel down to the ground. The dogs went next, and finally Bella.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 2 & Pics

Chapter 2
I drove through the gates of the retirement community, waving at one of the local policemen. Because Edward had his own helicopter, we’d helped Chief Clark more than once. Edward rarely asked for payment, simply because he loved the small town of Forks. He helped because he could, because he had the ability to pitch in.
The dogs shifted in the far back of the SUV as we came to a stop where the chief’s car was parked in front of a small cottage. Jasper and Emmett were out before I’d even shut off the engine. After hooking Lock and Load to their leashes, I met Chief Clark at the front door.
The chief was a good man, kind and laidback. He’d been voted in ever since his father retired several years ago. He was pushing close to fifty, with gray hair at his temples and a few wrinkles at the corners of his hazel eyes.
“We really appreciate this, Bella,” he said, smiling and offering me a shirt.
“No problem, Chief,” I told him with a smile. “We weren’t really working this week. We’re about to go out of town once school lets out. Is that Mr. Hopper’s?” I asked, pointing to his hand.
“This was in the laundry hamper, so I’m assuming he wore it recently. I hope it helps.”

Sunday, October 20, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 1 & Pics

Chapter 1
“Okay, guys, everyone line up!” Bella called from across the gym.
I glanced down at my son. “You goin’, buddy?” I asked him, smiling when he shook his head fervently.
“No,” Sammy whispered, giving his mom and sister a longing look, but his shyness was overriding it all.
When I knelt down at his level as he sat on the bottom bleacher, his big brown eyes met mine. “If you change your mind, we’ll just tell Mom, okay?”
“Yeah,” he whispered back, but tugged his hat off, scrubbed hair that was identical to mine, and then pulled the hat back on. Backwards, of course.
I sat down on the bleachers next to him, giving his shoulder a squeeze. He was now four, and if I’d thought Bethy was the perfect blend of Bella and me, I’d been mistaken. Sammy was every inch the two of us. He had his mother’s deep, soulful brown eyes that took in everything around him with curiosity. His hair was a few shades darker than mine, but stuck up in every direction just like my own. He was calm, quiet, and quick to learn like Bella, but he’d inherited my shyness from when I was a kid. And just like me, he was good in situations where he was in control, things he was used to, but when it came to new people, new events, he would stand back and assess everything before joining in. And today was no different.

New Story! Fire & Ice - Gravity Series #4

SUMMARY: FOURTH in the Gravity Series. When one of their own is threatened, the crew will have to travel halfway around the globe to get them back. What they find will have them racing against the odds to save more than just one life.
Note from Deb: Oh, yes, Mercward is back! Hang in there, I need to go over a few things before we start. I promise to not keep you long, nor do I plan on uber-long A/Ns every chapter.
I need to thank everyone that PMed, reviewed, begged, pleaded, and bribed (yes, bribed) me to continue with “just one more” story in the Gravity Series. Another big thank you for everyone that said Mercward’s my FAVE Edward. However, I’ll be honest…I held off doing another one. Other plot bunnies came to the forefront, or it just wasn’t time, or I wasn’t in the right frame of mind, but I’ve had a plot outlined for this for a year.

Fire & Ice Images